Will Edwinson

Author & Storyteller

A Bit of Nostalgia

Will Edwinson PhotoThis is a reprint of one of my newspaper columns I wrote for the Idaho State Journal during my days in Idaho that I’d like to share with you.

There’s an old saying that says, “you can’t go back,” but nostalgia is an interesting topic, and I think we all, at some time or other, like to reflect on the past and wish we could go back.  I’m often asked, “If you could go back, which time period would you like to go back to?” I began my awareness of the real world around the end of World War II, so I would pick the years starting with the late 1940s and running through 1964.

 We as a nation had a pretty good standard of living established by that time; hot and My First Carcold running water in our homes; central heating, electricity; and automobiles had reached a respectable level of dependability.   Farming had also risen out of the hard working days of planting and harvesting the crops with horses.  No, we didn’t have the air-conditioned and heated cabs, the radios and stereos, or GPS that we have today; but still, farm work wasn’t Massey-Harris 21 Combineall that unbearable.  We had side curtains on the tractors to keep us warm on those chilly spring and fall days, and umbrellas to keep us cool in the summer.  Since there were no radios, we had to occupy our minds in other ways during those long days in the fields.

 I used to practice working math problems in my head.  Things like multiplying, dividing or adding several digit columns.  I worked out a system where I would put the numbers in blocks of ten and five. It was a system kinda like the Chinese abacus.  I got to where I was pretty good at it, too, until the modern cabs with radios came along and diverted my attention to other things.  You know the old saying, “what you don’t use, you lose,”  and I’ve lost much of that math skill over the years.

 Life seemed less stressful back then as well.  After just coming out of the war, prosperity was on the rise, there was much less government regulation and intrusion into our lives in those days, and taxes were fairly low.  Although income tax rates were higher than they are now, capital gains taxes were adjusted for inflation, and we didn’t have as many hidden taxes—and there was no sales tax.  The government ran a balanced budget—sometime even a surplus—most of the years during the 1950s; we didn’t have the drug problems or the terrorism to deal with that we have today, and life was generally good.

 But after having said all that, I would like to close by saying, writing this column has been good to me.  It has afforded me two AP awards, and the emails, telephone calls, and the people stopping me on the street, telling me how much they have enjoyed reading them, is more precious than gold.  Thank you all, and as long as the little grey cells can come up with new things to write about, and as long you continue to enjoy reading  them, I’ll continue to write.  The same thing holds true for this blog, as well.

 Now, if you enjoy reading nostalgia, you might like the tales in my book, Buddy…His Trials and Treasures.  It’s a book about the adventgures of a young boy growing up in rural America during the 1940s.  Buddy is somewhat reminiscent of a twentieth century Tom Sawyer, but unlike Tom, Buddy’s mischievous deeds are without much forethought.  They simply happen because Buddy is…well…he’s just Buddy.  You can get a free copy by clicking on the free download button at upper right of this page.  Enjoy.

—Will

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